James “Jimmi” H. Smith Jr., 71, a retired University of Nebraska–Lincoln leader, died Jan. 1 in Lansing, Kansas.
An alumnus who earned a Master of Arts degree in education in 1974 and a former Husker football player, Smith worked in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s ethnic studies program. He also was among the leaders of the “Teacher of Teachers’ program.
In 1974, Smith was named director of the university’s multi-cultural affairs office, a position he held for 30 years. He also served as director of TRIO programs.
Smith was born March 9, 1948 in Gordo, Alabama, to James H. Smith Sr. and Estelle Smith. After a family move, Smith grew up in Midland, Pennsylvania. He was recruited and earned a scholarship to play Husker football in 1967, going on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary and middle school education.
Smith retired after working at Emporia State University and managing its Upward Bound office for Leavenworth, Kansas, and surrounding areas. After retirement, Smith became an active member in the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Leavenworth.
He was a lifetime member of the NAACP and was active in the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
Smith is survived by his wife, Sandi; daughter, Stacee McWilliams; three sons, Brian Smith, James (Claire) Smith and Kiflyn (Ivonne) Smith; stepson, Carlton White; sisters, Ruby, Elizabeth, Lorraine and Jeannette; brothers, Fred, Robert and Craig; 12 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Melvin and Larry Smith.
Services are Jan. 11 at Bethel AME Church, 411 Kiowa St., Leavenworth. Visitation begins at noon with a funeral service to follow at 1 p.m.